In the wake of Rihanna’s rant against a journalist for rehashing that pesky personal matter of her rocky relationship and recent collaborations with Chris Brown (a journalist asking… questions?! The nerve!), one can’t help but wonder what makes otherwise seemingly smart and successful women fall prey to the pull of the ever-volatile bad boy.
Of course, most of us have dated someone absurdly outside of our comfort zone (I once dated a Yugoslavian exchange student who, before our short-lived liaison, was accused of having a torrid affair with his history teacher). These dances with danger rarely end well. Case in point? The long list of troubled celebrity couples who can’t resist stepping back in the ring after the bell has been rung. The following five famous offenders, in the immortal words of Bon Jovi, give love a bad name.
Rihanna and Chris Brown: Since Chris’s 2009 Grammy night assault on Rihanna, the couple has been photographed jet skiing together (three weeks after the altercation) and dining together for RiRi’s birthday (this year!). Most recently, the lyrical ex-lovers teamed up for a little collaborating of the musical kind.
Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman: Baywatch fans of the world shared a collective gasp of shock in 1998 when beach bunny Carmen Electra wed NBA shock jock Dennis Rodman. Although an annulment was filed a mere nine days later, the twisted twosome continued to court for a year before an ugly domestic dispute ended their oddball affair for good.
Tina Turner and Ike Turner: What’s love got to do with it, indeed? Ike Turner swept up Tina Turner when she was just a teen, married her and reinvented her as a dynamic, long-legged crooner. She stayed by Ike’s side for 16 years, during which she suffered repeated abuse at the hands of her hot-headed spouse.
Mike Tyson and Robin Givens: When the whirlwind marriage of Robin Givens and Mike Tyson fizzled shortly after it started, she accused the heavyweight of abusing her even before they eloped; he claimed she was a gold-digger. Happily, Givens got out of the marriage with both ears intact.
Madonna and Sean Penn: For four tumultuous years, Material Girl Madonna and notoriously eccentric actor Sean Penn made headlines as husband and wife. Despite Penn once beating Madonna with a baseball bat, the Queen of Pop has claimed she’s never felt more fireworks with any other man.
These raucous celebrity romances go to show that bad relationships, like spoiled milk, no longer have a shelf life; they need to be thrown out with the stale bread and that mysterious chunk of what you can only guess is cheese that has been festering in your fridge. The second a bad boy goes from dangerously charming to just plain dangerous, it’s time to get out while the getting’s good.